“Music makes the world a better place!”
Monday, October 21st 2019, 5 pm. This is the sentence I read on the wall behind me. I am sitting on a couch in SEMM Music Store & More in Bologna. Next to me, there is Dario Greco, a Sicilian singer and songwriter who published his debut album last year. Our paths crossed less than one year ago, when Dario asked me to review his album. Music did all the rest. However, there are not just the two of us here. For a couple of hours, the room has literally turned into a sitting room where Dario has welcomed and listened to those who took a train or drove a lot of kilometres without much thinking to reach him. It is an intimate meeting and the lucky twenty people who got the confirmation will undoubtedly remember this magic and unique event.
Through Dario’s debut album Libero, guided by the sea waves and together with the founders of his official fan club “Dario Greco Fan Club – i Liberi”, we tiptoed into his space. Just like a tree, Dario has his roots into his beloved Sicily and, just like one of its branches, he has chosen to be free. What brought him in this major place for music is probably his desire of sharing ideas, emotions and, above all, music. To sum this meeting between Dario and his fans up I just need three words – talks, music and curiosities. The bound between them is incredibly strong and, within two hours, I am overwhelmed by gratitude and beauty. There is something magical and intense in the air that sticks to your soul.
“We met once and we ended up sharing everything. Dario always has the right word at the right time and this, I think, is what makes him unique. We found someone who treated us as if we had been known each other for ages.” With these words, Silvia describes the source of the strong bond between her and Simona and Rita and she tells us how Dario’s music and his participation to the Open Mic in Milan gave birth to the ‘Dario Greco Fan Club – i Liberi’. Then she adds, “Dario makes you feel home and he understands you.”
Dario told us how feeling frightened and out of place may restrict our freedom of creating and of expression and, above all, our choices. Talking about choices, he tells us that at the beginning he did not know whether to include Davanti c’è u mari as the closing track of the album, since it could be risky to publish a song in Sicilian dialect, and it could be even more risky to do it in the debut album. “Then I realized that I was free to choose and that song had a great value for me. That is why in the end I decided to include it in my album.” Dario was struck by the fact that the lyrics of the songs have been clear also to people who were not familiar with Sicilian dialect, making the Italian translation that he added in the booklet almost unnecessary. And this, according to Dario, “is an evidence of the fact that music is a universal and complete language.”
Davanti c’è u mari is the final track of the album, it is Dario’s mark and both a tribute and a quote. “The closing sound of the sea waves stands for Catania and the meaning of the song itself, but it is also my personal tribute to Pino Daniele, who included the sound of Naples sea in the final track of his album Questo immenso.” After that, he played an intimate and gentle version of Quanno chiove, the song that made him go back home after a long trip wishing to learn how to play the guitar.
«Se penso che a mia madre non ho dedicato neanche una poesia, / Lei mi ha insegnato che “chi sa, più vale” e, oggi, io dico la mia. / Per questo sono qua; mi sento un uomo libero e forte come mai. / Mi sento un uomo libero e forte più che mai» (“I have not even dedicated a poem to my mother / She taught me that ‘the one who knows more is worth more’ and today I will speak up. / That is why I am here; I feel free and strong like never before. / I feel free and stronger than ever” – my translation)
This is the last verse of Libero, the title track of the album. So Dario is asked, “Have you dedicated a poem to your mother since the publication of the album?” His answer is, “Actually I wrote this song to solve this problem and this song is my gift for her. In some relationships you have thoughts but you hold them back. I know it should be natural to tell my parents how I feel, but it is hard for me. Admitting in a song of mine that I have never dedicated her (his mother) a poem is a great achievement for me. In this song I also say she taught me that ‘the one who knows more is worth more’ and knowledge is fundamental in one’s life. When you are a kid, it means studying, obeying and respecting rules… even though I wanted a guitar instead of my backpack! In one way or the other, I learnt the lesson. Through this verse, I tell her that now I feel stronger, a free man, and maybe this happened thanks to her and to the fact that when I was a kid she made me carry a burden even if I did not want to. And today I thank her».
Dario then tells us that there are songs which we like and that strike us for many reasons, and that they might be special because they were not written by us. Actually, when we listen to a song we get hints the composer himself did not include on purpose. Dario told us there are no songs he would have liked to write. “Maybe it is better not to have written the songs I love, because probably I would have understood and loved them differently than I did. When you write them (the songs), you know their backgrounds and your feelings are all condensed into that four-minute song. When they are written by someone else, those feelings stay with you for your whole life.”
And for his whole life, I think, Dario will remember the excitement of working with Massimo Varini, an Italian guitarist, arranger, teacher and music producer. This collaboration, which Dario described as a comet, gave birth to the song Come nevica, with Dario Greco’s lyrics and Massimo Varini’s music.
“Music gave me the opportunity to be more honest with myself”
In my opinion, honesty is at the heart of sharing. That is why in the booklet of the album you will find not only the lyrics of each song, but also the time and the context in which Dario created it. Since Dario’s hints are making me curious, I ask him to tell me something more about the song Camminare sospeso and this is what he says about it. “At that time Takagi & Ketra just released a new song and I was talking about it with Antonio, my closest collaborator. I like listening to every kind of music and I try to do it without any prejudice, because I wish other people to do the same with my music. The feeling after listening to Takagi & Ketra’s song was that it took five minutes to write it, but at the same time, I was sure it was accurately studied. Once I got off the phone with Antonio, I thought about it and I realized that it would be great to write my songs in twenty minutes. This is where Camminare sospeso comes from.”
In the end, Dario makes a gift to those who have participated to this event and who have been by his side in these past months. He embraces his guitar and our minds are free to wander. He lets us listen to an unpublished song that, we hope, will become the cornerstone of his new album.
This is what happened in a couple of hours. Dear Dario, I just wish you all the best for your future.
Original article by Lorenza Ferraro - Translation by Simona Zanoni